I binge watched the first four seasons of Breaking Bad in rehab this summer. Granted, it probably wasn’t the best choice of programming for that particular venue, but I was manic at the time and only sleeping about 3 hours every night. So, pretty much every morning, from 2am to 6am, I would curl up on the day room couch and watch the adventures of Walter White. I had not used crystal meth yet at that point, so it wasn’t particularly triggering (though it did feature a heroin addict, Jane, in the second season).
I’m finally getting around to finishing up the final season. I have two episodes left. It’s getting pretty fucking intense.
There are no references or triggers regarding drug use in the program at this point. Even the original premise, focusing on the cook, has pretty much gone by the wayside. All that the show appears to be about now is a detailed portrayal of the monster that Walter White has become.
And I’m identifying with it… and it’s unnerving…
As far as specifics go, I’m not about to go about starting a meth empire in the Pacific Northwest. I do look back at what I’ll call my ‘moral trajectory’, though, and it’s not good.
While I certainly haven’t done anything remotely as ‘wrong’ or ‘evil’ as WW has in the show, my abilities to lie, manipulate and otherwise be a cold, unfeeling asshole have flourished over the last few years as I’ve sunk deeper into my addiction.
Every time I’ve relapsed, I’ve hurt people, the people closest to me, in increasingly horrible ways. Then, I see WW doing his fucked up shit and I’m frightened that, if push comes to shove and I continue down this path, I could slowly slide into that level of depravity.
My head is full of crazy shit. Shit that in the past would never even enter my mind is now there, rationalized away by the addict part of my brain and feeding what seems to be an increasingly blackened soul.
I’m trying (and succeeding) at staying clean, but my mind is still a very sick place. I’m working at throwing back the shades and shedding light on everything, but it is a slow and difficult progress. I’m doing the spiritual work and things are, slowly, getting better. Oftentimes, though, it’s two steps forward and one step back (or, sometimes, it feels like twelve steps back).
Addiction stole my moral compass. I’m putting it back in place, but it takes time. The good news is that these crazy thoughts are just that… thoughts. I don’t need to act on them. And I certainly don’t need to shame myself over them. That does no good whatsoever.
Anyway, Breaking Bad, for me, started off as a fascinating biopic centered around a subject I have a great deal of interest in. It has morphed into something of a cautionary tale. I’m not, and never will be, WW but I really don’t want to become any more like him than I already have.